Getting lost is the easy part when you're traveling. Finding your way back to your destination--there's a challenge.
Welcome NeverLost Global Positioning System. Hertz introduced it in 1995 but finished installing the updated version in select rental cars last year.
The NeverLost system, which promises to liberate us from crumply maps that take up half the front seat, delivers the goods. It's not the perfect guide, but it improved the quality of my trip when I tried it.
For starters, the system minimized the arguments I used to have with my navigator over which route to take. NeverLost issued directions from a console between the seats in clear English (that neither of us could second-guess), and it led us to our hotel without so much as an electronic hiccup.
I tested an improved version, Hertz' second generation NeverLost II, last July and found it clearer and easier to use than the original system. When I veered off the route to try a shortcut, the computer calculated new directions and gently guided me back to the designated path.
A drawback is that the car has to come to a complete stop before anyone can change coordinates--an understandable precaution for solo drivers, but when there are two passengers, what's the problem?
The computer, available in many new Ford, Mercury and Lincoln rentals, usually costs an additional $6 per day. It lets you know exactly where you are, how many miles until your destination and approximately how many minutes it will take to reach your goal. You can choose from seven languages and a variety of destination and travel options. Other new features include improved graphics and a locate button for emergency assistance.
Christopher Elliott is a writer in Annapolis, Maryland. Contact him at http://www.elliott.org.